Technology in the Classroom: How, Why to Use Podcasts

Podcasts, or a “topic-specific digital stream of audio files (in some cases, video or PDF also) that can be downloaded to a computer or a wide variety of media devices,” have become all the technology in the classroom rage in educational circles of late. They can be entertaining and educational, and can cover news, current events, learning, sports, or just about any other subject matter a teacher chooses to address.

Today on, frequent contributing writer Jacqui Murray, herself a seasoned tech teacher based in Northern California, looks at several ways you can use podcasts to boost your curriculum via creating a podcast, including:

  1. Current Events Newscasts: Students deliver weekly or monthly podcasts on interesting current events.
  2. Debates: Hold a class debate. Record it in audio and have other students listen and weigh in.
  3. Guest speakers: Make podcasts of class guest speakers to share with absent students or future classes. This can be stored in the podcast library (mentioned below).
  4. Interviews: Have students interview each other as well as teachers and administrators about important school-wide events such as a sports competition or an award ceremony.
She also includes a look at helpful existing podcasts, including:
  1. Serial -- for middle school; unfolds one story over a season
  2. Short and Curly -- an ethics podcast
  3. StoryNory Stories for Kids
  4. Story Pirates Podcast
Jacqui sums up her article like this: “Overall, podcasts are education's secret weapon, unmatched in their ability to differentiate for particular student needs and be inclusive to the learning styles of everyone. Show students how to use them and then offer them often as an alternative when assessing knowledge.”
Do you use podcasts as part of your technology in the classroom arsenal? Which ones? Let us know in the comments section.